Recorded in several forms including Hardall, Hartle, Hartell, Hartill, Hartnell, Hartles, and no doubt others, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of the places called Harthill. The first in the county of Cheshire, is recorded as "Herthil" in the Court Rolls of 1259; or that in Derbyshire, recorded as "Hortil" in the Domesday Book of 1086; and finally Harthill in the West Riding of Yorkshire, recorded as "Hertil" in the Domesday Book. The placename derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "heorot" meaning hart or stag plus "hyll" a hill; hence either Stag's hill or the hill frequented by stags. As Hartnell there may have been an introduction of the Middle English phrase 'atten' to give 'Hart atten hill', and fused to the modern form. Recordings of the surname from the surviving church registers of Greater London include Richard Harthill, who married Elyn Ledson, on September 28th 1544, at St. Michael Bassinshaw; Nathan, the son of Robert Hardall, who was christened on May 14th 1564, at St. Michael's Cornhill; and Anne Hartnell at St Botolphs Bishopgate, on May 18th 1596. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Herthil. This was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as the Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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